Thursday, June 30, 2022

Solid waste? More like solid gold

| June 3, 2022 1:00 AM

Time for some trash talk, and no, we don’t mean the political garbage. Everyone’s had enough of that steaming heap for a while, so today we turn our attention to a different kind of trash.

It’s the kind that hundreds of carloads and truckloads have been hauling to Kootenai County transfer stations every day lately, mountains of winter’s leftovers, the unwanted victims of spring cleaning.

If you’ve been one of those residents hauling your sh- — um, your refuse — to the transfer station, we think you’ll nod your head to what we say next.

Kootenai County’s Solid Waste Department employees are awesome.

Doesn’t matter what time or what day or even which transfer station; the experiences that citizens we talk to and have witnessed repeatedly ourselves would qualify Solid Waste for Kootenai County Department of the Year, if such an award existed.

The irony of one of the stinkiest, dirtiest, most thankless jobs being handled consistently by some of the most pleasant, cooperative and efficient “government” employees does not go unnoticed. Talk about diamonds in the rough.

The thing is, while this superior customer service is deeply appreciated, it isn’t new. We could go back years and note that staff has always been friendlier and more helpful than a patron might expect. Kudos to Solid Waste Director John Phillips for maintaining the high standards of service.

The county itself deserves credit for ensuring just about any citizen’s schedule can be accommodated. The transfer stations are open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. until just before 5 p.m., except on major holidays.

Transfer stations serve a vital service not just to cluttered Kootenai County garages, but to everyone around here who drinks water. Safe disposal of waste protects the Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer, so when you take your leftover paint or other hazardous product to a transfer station on Wednesdays or Saturdays, you’re helping protect the region’s pristine drinking water.

Whatever it is the Solid Waste Department is doing to have so many happy, productive employees, it should be replicated throughout public and private industry. Meantime, a hat tip and hearty “thank you” to all those smiling if sometimes grimy faces.

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